So far we are a little more than half way through the core levels of branding. We've discussed Vision & Mission Statements, along with Values and Objectives. Our next step is to develop Audience Personas. Gaining clarity around whom you are targeting will help you avoid wasting time and money later when you are developing your visual branding and marketing materials.
The key to making sure you are reaching the right people with the right strategy of communications is to get beyond broad labels of your audience and put a name and a face to that type of person. We need to look at three ways to break this down:
DEMOGRAPHICS will help you understand statistical information like:
- Marital Status
PSYCHOGRAPHICS will help you get more targeted by telling you more about things like:
SOCIAL BEHAVIOR allows you to go one step further with more customized communication tailored to their needs and wants. Look to online social groups of like-minded people and ask:
- What are the main characteristics of the group members?
- Are they taking advantage of different types of media online, and what other communities interest them?
- What are the key issues, concerns, and needs of this target public?
Names & Faces
Once you have a clear sense of who your audience is, define an individual who represents that group of people by putting a name and a face to that type of person.
For example, I know I'm trying to reach a specific audience with my Objectives and have created a persona for a fictional business owner named Mary.
- Mary is in her early late 40s or early 50s.
- She is an expert at what she does and has been working in her industry for 10 years or more.
- She's been an independent business owner for three years or more.
- She has built a solid base of customers, but she wants to grow.
- She recognizes she can't do it herself and is overwhelmed by all of the day-to-day tasks.
- She understands the value of having a professional do the things she can't in her business.
- She's not technical and doesn't want to be. She uses email and Facebook and that's all she really is interested in knowing.
- She doesn't have a need to hire an in-house designer, or the budget to hire an agency.
- She realizes she needs an independent designer she can call on as needed to consult with her about promotions, web updates, branding, and design to help her grow.
- She wants design solutions tailored to her specific needs.
- She wants to know this person is a like-minded individual that shares her vision of a natural, eco-friendly and cruelty-free lifestyle.
- She most likely would reach out to a designer she found through a referral of another trusted business owner.
- Her main form of communication is email.
- She subscribes to a few very targeted e-newsletters in her industry and reads them regularly. She tosses the rest or unsubscribes because she hates digital clutter and the feeling that she "needs" to go back and read them.
- She shares more personal information on Facebook than business information because she hasn't clearly defined whom she's targeting and she's unsure if what she shares for business will be effective.
- She's not sure what the next step is with marketing but knows she needs to do something more structured than what she's doing now.
- She needs that independent designer to hold her hand and walk her through the process in a way that doesn't feel overwhelming to her time or budget.
Is this is exact person I work with every time? No, but it's pretty darn close. By knowing who my target audience is and who is going to value my services, I'm able to save time and money. I'm better able to tailor my communications and marketing to those who will want to take the next step to work with me.
How to build your Audience Personas
You may already have a general sense of who your target audience is, but I challenge you to take it one step deeper. Think about your best customer or whom you want to be your best customer, to form your Audience Persona by asking yourself some of the following questions:
- Whom am I targeting with my Brand Objectives?
- Would an individual in this target group be a man or woman?
- What "name" could I give to an individual to create a Persona?
- Where does this individual live?
- What do they do for a living?
- What to they do for fun?
- How often, and through what channels, would they likely want to hear from me? Email? Social Media? Print?
- Do they use products or services like mine now?
- Do they have brand loyalty?
- What kind of money do they typically spend on products or services like mine?
- How often do they use products or services like mine?
This list could go on and on, but this will get you started. It's important to tie this Persona to your Brand Objectives because from there you'll have defined your overall goals and whom you need to communicate them to. This takes a lot of guesswork out of marketing when it comes time to tackle that step.
Speaking of next steps...are ready to start marketing to your target audience? If so, let's chat!